Feeding Students Free of Charge

SY 20-21 Special Provisions Information 7/17/2020

SY 20-21 Feeding Students Free of Charge

  • We have received quite a few questions regarding feeding children free of charge this school year.
  • As of 7/17/2020, USDA has not released a waiver to feed all students nationwide free of charge.
  • When the school year begins regardless of online or in-classroom format, students will be charged according to their meal benefit status. Therefore, meal applications will be collected and the monthly DC report collected as usual.
  • Note: You can only provide a meal for reimbursement if a curriculum is in place. If Fridays are not considered a curriculum day then you cannot provide a reimbursable meal for that day.
  • Of course, Community Eligible Provision (CEP) and Provision 2 (P2) schools will not charge students as usual.

Special Provisions Information

  • Participation in CEP and P2 means to provide all meals, SBP and NSLP to all students free of charge.
  • Each CE has the discretion to choose which sites to participate in CEP. CEP does not have to be implemented district-wide. All sites may not be eligible for CEP.
  • The percentage of reimbursement rates for CEP is determined by the Identified Student Percentage (ISP). Reimbursement rates for CEP are either free and/or paid reimbursement rates.
  • The Identified Student Percentage (ISP) is determined solely by the number of directly certified (DC) students per site.
  • Directly Certified students are determined by program participation. The following list is of programs that directly certify students for free meals.
  1. SNAP
  2. TANF
  3. Medicaid Free
  4. Homeless
  5. Runaway
  6. Foster
  7. FDPIR
  8. State-Funded PreK (Only SY 2019-2020)
  • Please see the link provided for TDA's Special Provisions webpage.


Below is a list of information for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and Provision 2 (P2) provided on the webpage.

  1. A list of schools that participate in CEP.
  • A new student who transfers from a CEP school is eligible for a 30-day carryover free meal benefit to allow time to process a meal benefit application or locate the student's participation in a DC category.
  • CEs may implement a procedure to work with the Registrar to know when a student is enrolled and verify if they transferred from a CEP school.
  • Consider how you will document this information, how the free benefit is documented in your Point of Sale (POS), and how to remove the 30-day carryover within your POS system upon the 30th day.
2. A list of CEP eligible and potentially eligible schools.
  • Eligible means the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) submitted in the CEP report is greater than 40%.
  • Potentially eligible means the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) submitted in the CEP report is less than 40%, but greater than or equal to 30%.
  • Note: The ISP must be at or greater than 62.5% in order to receive the free reimbursement for all reimbursable meals claimed.
3. Helpful Q&As for CEP

4. USDA Resources for CEP

5. TDA Resources for CEP

  • TDA offers great CEP resources and information for CEs.
6. Provision 2
  • Districts wishing to participate in Special Assistance Provision 2, another alternative to standard methods of counting and claiming meals for reimbursement used in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP), may continue to do so. Information on Provision 2 may be found in the Administrator's Reference Manual, Section 5, Special Provisions.

Considering CEP for SY 20-21?

  • If you are considering participating in CEP we recommend completing the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Federal Reimbursement Estimator Worksheet to see the difference in reimbursement by operating CEP versus NSLP.
  • The ISP must be at or greater than 62.5% in order to receive the free reimbursement for all reimbursable meals claimed.
  • Less than 62.5% ISP means a percentage of the claimed meals are reimbursed at the paid reimbursement rate.
  • The percentage of ISP can be found in the SY 2019-20 CEP report located in TX-UNPS.
  • Meet with the business official to determine if this would be a burden on the budget or not.
  • As part of the application approval process for implementing CEP the first year (base year), the CE will provide all documentation for determining the CEP ISP submitted in the CEP report to an ESC Specialist. The ESC Specialist will then complete a Statistical Analysis worksheet (SAW) to verify a percentage of the students' participation in a DC program.

Application for CEP

  • The deadline for Local Educational Agencies to submit applications to elect the Community Eligibility Provision is June 30.
  • However, for School Year (SY) 2020-2021, USDA extended the deadline for Local Educational Agencies to submit applications to elect Community Eligibility Provision until August 30 because of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • It is recommended to submit asap as the CEP approval process includes submission of the application, ESC Specialists verifying eligibility through the completion of a SAW, and TDA updating the ISP if necessary.
Completing the Application Packet to Participate in CEP

  1. Contracting Entity Application:
  • Complete all areas of contracting application
  • Q A28 - Yes
  • Click Save
  • Note: By answering Yes, the CEP Schedule has now been created. DO NOT EDIT!
2. Continue to Site Applications:

  • Complete all areas of site applications
  • Q 11, Pricing Option, Update to Non-Pricing - CEP (only sites participating in CEP)
  • Click Save and Finish
3. CEP Schedule:

  • Once all site applications are saved, then ADD the CEP Schedule. This is located on the application packet dashboard.
  • Designate if each site will be grouped or individual. Do not leave sites unassigned.
  • At the top of each schedule is a summary which indicates the sites grouping totals. This is what the claim will be based on.
  • Click Save and Submit the overall application packet.

  • The ESC Specialist will complete the SAW and submit to TDA.
  • If the original ISP is not determined, TDA's Program Eligibility Specialist (PES) will update the ISP in the CEP Schedule according to the SAW verification. TDA will contact the CE to review the CEP Schedule data and resubmit the application.

CEP Merging 2 Sites into 1

Merging 2 sites into 1 new site

  1. The CE will modify/revise the site application for the 2 site applications that are combining. Change Q 11, Price Option from Non-Pricing CEP to Pricing fill in a price and SAVE.
  2. Add the new site application and change Q 11 from Pricing to Non-Pricing - CEP.
  3. A new line will open up and the CE will enter the new CEP data for the 2 sites combined.
  4. Complete the new application and SAVE.
  5. Go to CEP Schedule click modify/revise, go to grouping and unassign the 2 sites, then assign the new site to a group.
  6. Submit the application for approval.
  7. Once approved, the CE needs to close the 2 sites that are no longer participating.

Close a Site

  • Open the list of sites.
  • Click on the version/status at the righthand side of the site application.
  • Click on Close Site at the bottom righthand corner.
  • Fill out the pop-up screen with site closure information.
  • Do not resubmit the site once it has been closed.

Documentation for CEP

Documentation for determining the ISP submitted in the CEP report is reviewed during the completion of the Statistical Analysis Worksheet (SAW) and during an Administrative Review (AR). See the list of documentation below:

  1. Student Enrollment List - This is the student enrollment list you upload into TXELMS to retrieve the DC report.
  2. DC Student List - This is the list of students you counted as DC in the CEP report. This list should be in excel format with at least the Student Name, Site ID #, Type of Benefit for DC.
  3. DC Report - This report will verify DC students' eligibility.
  4. List from Liaison - Any local categorial DC student must be proven by a list provided by the CE liaison. This list must have a signature of the person who provided the list. The signature may be electronic.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance is available by contacting your regional education service center.

Julie Dorman

Region 6 ESC

Child Nutrition Program Specialist, SNP/SSO



Cindy Scott

Region 6 ESC

Child Nutrition Program Specialist, SNP/SSO



You may also request technical assistance via email at NSLP-SBP.Bops@TexasAgriculture.gov – please include your CE ID and CE Name in your inquiry to ensure a timely response.

This Institution is an equal opportunity provider. This program is funded by the USDA.